Crayon Art Sculpture

24 Mar

Crayon Art SculptureEvery two weeks some blogger friends of mine get together for an art series that explores a different art material or art process.  Last month we tried fabric resist art and this month we are working with crayons.  I’m so excited by this crayon art sculpture.  It is such an easy art project for kids.  All you need is a box of crayons (paper wrapper must remain on) and a glue gun.  At first I felt bad about “ruining” a new box of crayons,  but then I decided there are all different purposes for things and if no one ever tried using things in a different way, the world would be pretty limited.  So, here’s my take on exploring with crayons.

Crayon Art SculptureCrayon Art SculptureCrayon Art SculptureIf you’ve read my blog before you may have noticed that I am a huge advocate of children working with real tools.  Low heat glue guns can be purchased at almost any craft store and are a fantastic exploration tool.  Everyone has their own comfort level with things like this.  Please make sure your child is closely supervised when using a glue gun.  I’d say this project is best for 4 and up.  Since my girls are toddlers, I made this sculpture while they napped.  (sorry girls) I would love to give a box of crayons and glue guns to a table of 4-18 year olds and see what they come up with.  A collaborative sculpture would be so cool! The possibilities are endless!

Crayon Art SculptureCrayon Art SculptureOne of the greatest things about this art sculpture is that it was super easy.  I cut out a cardboard base from an old box and started glueing crayons to the base with a glue gun.  I had to hold each crayon in position for five seconds to wait for the glue to dry.  The sculpture is surprisingly sturdy.  Once I started I kept going until I used all 64 crayons in the box.  That felt important to me for some reason, like it was less wasteful if I used the whole box.  Does that make sense?  I think it felt more purposeful that way.  Of course, kids don’t have to do that.  Mini sculptures would be great too! The colors are so beautiful, it’s pretty much a guaranteed success project.  I’d love to see a rainbow crayon sculpture or one in only reds or only yellows.  I may have started my next obsession.  The most important thing is you can’t do this without the paper on the crayons.  Trust me, I tried family crayon sculpture art with unwrapped crayons first and it definitely did not work.  The glue in the glue gun resists the wax of the crayon making it really difficult to work with, at least for this purpose.

Crayon Art SculptureCrayon Art SculptureCrayon Art SculptureGigi was totally fascinated when she woke up and saw the sculpture.  It was pretty cool.  This is definitely something I’d try again.  I’d love to make it a birthday party project when my girls get a little older.  It would be amazing to see this on a large scale too.  How about it Crayola?  Want to commission me to make a large scale Crayon Art Sculputre?  10,000 crayons should do it?  Who’s in?

Crayon Art SculptureCrayon Art SculptureTo see other really awesome ways to explore with crayons please check out these links.  You won’t be disappointed!

How to Color Fabric with Crayons by Willowday

Easy Crayon Painting for Kids by BabbleDabbleDo

Melted Crayon Art with a Glue Gun by Learn Play Imagine

Art for Kids Using Sandpaper and Crayons by Buggy and Buddy

Crayon Transfer Technique by Tiny Rotten Peanuts

Crayon Resist Photo Display by Twodaloo

Melted Crayon Art for Easter by Blog Me Mom


Crayon Art Sculpture

Painting with Recyclables Easy Art Activity for Kids

19 Mar

Painting with Recyclables - Painting Activity for ToddlersEarth Day is around the corner and in general we’re talking a lot about conserving and repurposing things.  I love when Gigi opens a gift and then points to the box or bag and says “We can make art out of this, mama.” Proud moments.  This invitation to paint is a great use of recyclables and really fun process art for young children.

Painting with Recyclables - Painting Activity for ToddlersDid you know Ikea is a great resource for art supplies?  They are constantly coming out with new supplies, like these squeeze paint bottles I couldn’t resist.   The colors are so pretty and the paint squeezes out really easily.  The only bummer is we went through the paint pretty quickly.  I’d love them twice the size.  My favorite art tool from Ikea is their easel for 14.99! You can’t beat the price and they are perfect for indoor and outdoor painting.

Painting with Recyclables - Painting Activity for ToddlersI set out five or six different recycled materials on a tray, including an egg carton, a styrofoam ring, a small tube, half of a cut up water bottle and a strawberry container.  I tried to pick things that were easy and interesting for little hands to grab.  I put out paint in Ikea  flat bowls that come in pretty colors and are really durable and easy to clean.   At 1.99 for a package of 6, they are pretty fantastic.  We use the silverware and bowls too!

Painting with Recyclables - Painting Activity for ToddlersThe station was all ready to go when the girls woke from their naps.  Their faces are priceless when they walk out into the backyard and see something beautiful to play with.  Usually Gigi yells out “Oh my goodness!” and I totally melt.   They immediately got to painting, trying each object in the paint.  D was quick to just smoosh her hands right into the paint bowls and make hand prints.  My girls are definitely not afraid to get messy!  I keep a bucket on hand filled with water for hand washing.

Painting with Recyclables - Painting Activity for ToddlersPainting with Recyclables - Painting Activity for ToddlersPainting with Recyclables - Painting Activity for ToddlersThis was a great, messy process that my girls really enjoyed.  Eventually they added big paint brush strokes to their art and then sprayed it down with some water from a nearby bucket.  If you like this idea, please check out some other process art ideas here and here.  We are HUGE process art fans for young children.  Enjoy!

painting with recyclables - art activity for young childrenpainting with recyclables - art activity for young childrenPainting with Recyclables - Painting Activity for ToddlersPainting with Recyclables - Easy Painting Activity for Kids

Make Your Own Kerplunk Game – Invitation to Play

17 Mar

Make your own kerplunk game for kidsEver since I saw this wire basket sculpture on Twodaloo, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  Ohhh, the possibilities of this idea! I just love it so much.  I started to notice things with holes and grooves and different ways to use them.  Here is my first inspiration, a homemade Kerplunk game for kids.  Do you remember Kerplunk?  It was a game of risk where you had to strategically pull out sticks from a plastic tube one at a time, trying not to let the marbles resting on top fall to the bottom.  Now, with two toddlers in my house, I had to tone it down a bit, but I think we got the gist of it here thanks to these silverware containers from Ikea.  I give you straw and pom pom Kerplunk.  I hope you enjoy it.

Make your own kerplunk game for kidsMake your own kerplunk game for kids your own kerplunk game for kidsMake your own kerplunk game for kidsMake your own kerplunk game for kids

Fabric Resist Art Pillows

10 Mar

fabric resist art activity for kids - how to make a resist art pillowI had so much making these fabric resist art pillows with my girls.  This art project was a collaborative effort since my girls are only toddlers.  I think the ideal age for a resist art project like this would be 7 and up.  You can skip the pillow making part all together and just create fabric art if you want.  This easy art project for kids is part of an art series I’m doing with a bunch of other super talented art and craft bloggers.  You can check out their resist art projects by clicking on the links below.  Last month we experimented with watercolors.  We made Spring watercolor paper flowers.  I’m loving this series!

fabric resist art activity for kids - how to make a resist art pillowThe first step is super simple and great for any age.  This is the part my girls helped with.  For the big pillow, they spread Elmer’s Gel Glue all over a big piece of fabric with their fingers.  Seriously, I just turned the bottle over with the cap off (because the real glue top totally stinks and never comes out properly-note to company) and squeezed gobs onto the fabric.  Then my girls pushed and spread it all around.  It was that easy.  For the I love Dada pillow I wrote the words using the gel glue.  Then we let them dry for 24 hours.

fabric resist art activity for kids - how to make a resist art pillowfabric resist art activity for kids - how to make a resist art pillowOnce the glue was totally dry I painted fabric paint in red, yellow and pink all over the fabric.  The paint will completely cover all the glue and that’s ok.  This paint is not suitable for young children that might put it in their mouth, so use accordingly.  After I painted all the paint I squeezed some yellow puffy fabric paint all over the fabric, which gave the fabric a nice texture.  Too bad Gigi couldn’t do this part.  It comes out so easily from the bottle and is really satisfying to squeeze.  Fabric paint is always on sale at Michaels too.

fabric resist art activity for kids - how to make a resist art pillowAfter adding all the fabric paint, I let it dry for another 24 hours.  I love projects that happen over time, especially when we’re so used to immediate gratification all the time.  Worthwhile art experiences are often a longer process.  I love showing that to my kids.  Once the fabric was totally dry I popped it into a super hot wash in the laundry machine.  The heat from the water melts the gel glue and you get this awesome effect on the fabric.  Isn’t it cool?!

fabric resist art activity for kids - how to make a resist art pillowMy last step was sewing the fabric into a pillow.  Like I said before, you could definitely skip this part but I wanted this fabric to live so a pillow seemed like a great option.  We had made the “I Love Dada” pillow using the same technique last year for fathers day and my whole family loves it! So if you want to take this next step, I encourage you to go for it.  Just cut the size you want from the fabric and cut a plain piece of the fabric the same size for the back.  Place both squares on top of each other pattern facing in.  Sew about an inch along each side connecting all the edges except one.  Turn the fabric inside out and stuff the pillow with a pillow insert or batting.  Last, turn in the edges of the remaining edge and sew it together.  I know these aren’t the best directions but there are about a million tutorials for pillow making on youtube.  You can try this one if you need a little extra guidance.

Fabric Resist Art - How to make resist art pillowsresistart6fabric resist art activity for kids - how to make a resist art pillowWe love our new resist art pillows! To see more awesome resist art ideas, check out some of my favorite bloggers.

Tape Resist Art on Foil from Learn Play Imagine

Wax Paper Resist from Housing a Forest

Splatter Paint Tape Resist from Buggy and Buddy

Watercolor Resist Easter Egg Garland from Fun at Home with Kids

Clay Resist by Babble Dabble Do

Resist Art Project: Andy Warhol by Art History Mom

Watercolor Resist Envelopes by Willowday

Resist Art Stepping Stones by Twodaloo

Cracked Wax Resist Art by BlogMeMom

fabric resist art activity for kids - how to make a resist art pillow

Moments in Life and Nature

7 Mar

Inspirations in nature - playing with rocksWriting a blog can be really tricky sometimes.  It can be easy to get caught up in how many likes and shares and comments there are and at the end of the day, that is definitely not what I enjoy about blogging.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love that others are finding value in what I’m writing about or sharing.  It’s wonderful, actually.  But it’s not the root of blogging for me and I need to remind myself of that sometimes.  For me, the root is the joy I feel in sharing my family and the artful life we live.  It’s having a visual diary of special moments in our lives that I can share and look back on.  It’s having the courage to say, here’s my take, my idea, my challenge and for me that is where the real value is.  So, my intention is to keep it simple, remember quality over quantity and to enjoy simple moments like these, with my family.

Inspirations in nature - playing with rocksInspirations in nature - playing with rocksInspirations in nature - playing with rocksInspirations in nature - playing with rocksHave a great weekend everyone.

How to Make a Seven Layer Cake from Sculpey

4 Mar

how to make a seven layer cake from sculpeyI can’t say enough about how much I love sculpey.  It’s just the most awesome polymer clay for kids and adults. (Check out this collection of Alien Army figures I made one summer pre kids)  It’s one of my absolute favorite art materials and though on the pricey side, I find it to be well worth it.  I’ve taught a sculpey class for years at my school and always the biggest hit of the class is this seven layer cake.  It’s looks really sophisticated to make, but is surprisingly simple, even for the kindergarteners.  Most of the kids in my class, ages 5-12, leave with a pretty delicious buffet of seven layer cakes to enjoy.

how to make a seven layer cake from sculpeyHere’s how to make them.  Start with seven sculpey balls in your favorite colors.  You can do a pattern of a few colors as well.  Balls are the most basic sculpey shape and usually start most sculpey projects.  You can roll the sculpey on the table under your open faced palm or between your two open palms.  Once you have 7 balls, you flatten them each with your thumb like a pancake and stack them one on top of the other.  This is the bases of your cake.  Next is the icing or “fondant,” as I like to call it with the kids.  They’ve seen enough cake making shows to know exactly what I mean.  I put a small handful of sculpey through our craft machine, which is similar to a pasta maker.  If you don’t have one you can easily use any sort of roller or even your palm to flatten out the sculpey.  The fondant is the trickiest part.  You wrap the 7 layers in the fondant sort of like a wonton.  Flatten it all around by pressing the fondant onto the 7 layers and then pinch or trim off the edges.  Sometimes I roll the cake on it’s side to press the fondant to the cake.   I have to help the younger kids with this part.  The final step is to add decoration to the cake.  The little kids tend to like simple sprinkles, where the older kids add more elaborate flower petals.  The kids come up with some pretty fabulous ideas.  When the cake is finished an adult can slice a piece with an exacto knife.  If you use a dull knife, like a butter knife, it will not come out clean, like you see here, but it will still look cool.  It’s more of a marbled affect.  Some kids prefer it.  Get ready to hear some serious oohs and ahhs.

how to make a seven layer cake from sculpeyhow to make a seven layer cake from sculpeyhow to make a seven layer cake from sculpeyWe’ve turned some of our cakes into necklace pendants and even earrings.  You can find all the necessary hardware at Michaels.  Mostly, the kids just love to make cake after cake for a collection.  I can’t say I blame them.  They are so darn pretty!  Happy cake making!

how to make a seven layer sculpey cakehow to make a seven layer cake from sculpey

Make Your Own Geoboard

3 Mar

Make your own geoboard for kids - meri  cherry blogI love coming up with new, hopefully innovative, ways to use styrofoam. It’s always popping up in some package or game.  I’m thinking this geoboard my almost 3 year old made for my 1 and half year old counts.  Geoboards are a fantastic way to practice shapes, strengthen and develop fine motor skills and encourage design.  Go team effort! And hooray for combining art and math!

make your own geoboard for toddlersI started off bringing home this real geoboard from work for a few days.  Gigi was really into it.  She was able to make squares and triangles, which turned into a game where I would make big triangles because I am “the mama,” and she would make little triangles because she is “a little girl.”  Man, this is a cute age (when they are not freaking out.)

make your own geoboardWhen this rectangular piece of styrofoam showed up in a box I thought it would make a great geoboard, plus Gigi is hardcore into hammering.  I figured if nothing else, it was an excuse for her to wear her construction hat, which kind of kills me.  First she painted the styrofoam with paint dots, then she went in for the tools.  She loved hammering in the golf tees, which went in with ease.  I showed her how to use the back of the hammer to take them out too, which was so cool.  We’re very professional around here.  Eventually she tired of hammering and I brought out some rubber bands.  It was such a natural progression from her play with the “real” geoboard.  She knew just what she wanted to do…big triangles and little triangles : )

make your own geoboard for toddlersWhen D woke up from her nap I set out the geoboard with some toothpicks, golf tees, rubber bands and glow sticks.  I know the glow sticks are pretty random, but we had a bunch left over from our glow in the dark tutu extravaganza so I figured why not.  D actually liked sticking the glow sticks in the best.   Please consider your specific child when using materials like these.  We feel very comfortable with toothpicks, etc.  and I am watching closely, but you may not, so please use your own discretion.  Safety first.

make your own geoboard for toddlersmake your own geoboardmake your own geoboard for toddlersWe’ve used our geoboard a bunch of times now.  Sometimes it even acts as a great hiding spot for little figures.  It’s a really fun addition to our play and I love that both girls can use it.  I’d love to make a whole geoboard city out of big pieces of styrofoam at some point.  Hmm…I may need to buy my girls a really big present stat.

make your own geoboard